July 19, 2024

Cardinals OC Drew Petzing aims to ‘attack the defense in different ways’ with diverse group of pass catchers

The Cardinals averaged 105.3 receiving yards per game last season, which ranked third fewest in the league, but Murray wasn’t on the field for a majority of 2023 as he recovered from the torn ACL he suffered late in the prior season.

McBride led the team in targets (106), receptions (81) and receiving yards (825), but the Cardinals’ top two wideouts in targets last season are no longer on the team (Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore).

With opportunity abundant within the Arizona’s passing attack this upcoming season, Petzing isn’t concerned with how the ball will be distributed among an eager group.

“I think as we look to build the roster — I think this ultimately comes from the top from [general manager] Monti [Ossenfort] and [head coach Jonathan Gannon] — the focus is only going to be on winning, and that’s never going to change,” Petzing said. “And if that’s your No. 1 goal, that at the end of the day, if you’re winning and putting yourself in a position to win, guys are going to be happy they’re here and happy they’re contributing. Certainly, great players want the ball – you want them to want the ball. I’ve been around some guys that have always wanted the ball not because they’re selfish necessarily, but they felt like it was the best way to win. So, you want those players, you want those guys on your roster.

“I said this to Kyler, actually I was joking, cause sometimes the quarterback can feel that pressure – ‘Oh, I gotta get this guy the ball’ – that’s not your job, that’s my job. As a coach, we can dictate some of that and will try to, your job is to play the play. Whatever the look is, go where the ball needs to go, make the decision that needs to be made – don’t worry about that stuff. I think, based on the character of the guys that we kind of talked about in this room, I don’t really worry about that.”

Murray’s late-season return certainly showed flashes of the offensive potential in Petzing’s scheme. The yardage totals improved in virtually every facet and the offense put up points against respectable defenses while tripling the Cardinals’ final win total through the final eight games.

It wasn’t all that long ago Murray showed MVP potential in 2021, and after going through the offseason program with the star quarterback, some teammates are thinking he’s capable of returning to that pedigree now that the major knee injury is behind him.

“He’s the type of guy that gets better every day,” Petzing said of Murray. “Sometimes it’s physically. Sometimes it’s mentally. Sometimes it’s a leadership perspective. But when you take the job and the sport as seriously as he does, I think you’re always going to see that growth. I think it’s something where he’s always looking to be a better player, be a better teammate, be a better leader So the more opportunities he gets to do it, the more he learns from it just like we do as coaches. I think you saw that throughout the spring.”

The only question remaining is who will be the main beneficiary within the Cardinals’ passing attack with a healthy Murray at the helm.